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This page documents political party strengths in the United Kingdom's principal local authorities (commonly known as local councils). The last major change to council compositions was the 2 May 2019 local elections, but changes in party representation arise frequently due to resignations, deaths, by-elections, co-options and changes of affiliation. Since April 2020 there have been 404 principal local authorities in the UK. England has 339 councils of seven types: 25 county and 188 district councils (two tiers with separate responsibilities covering the same physical area), 56 unitary authorities plus the ''sui generis'' Council of the Isles of Scilly, 36 metropolitan boroughs, 32 London boroughs plus the ancient, ''sui generis'' City of London Corporation. Scotland has 32 councils, Wales has 22 councils and Northern Ireland has 11 councils. This list does not include parish and town councils, the lowest tier of local government with limited powers. The 2020 local government elections in England were postponed until 6 May 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the first elections to the new 147-member Buckinghamshire Council. From 1 April 2020 until then, the 202 members of its five predecessor councils are operating as a single Shadow Authority – however, they have not been combined below. Information on political compositions is drawn from council websites and council data aggregators.

Summary

This table numbers the seats held by each party as of September 2019.

Technical information

Councils in England, Wales and Northern Ireland elect to each of their seats once every four years, while in Scotland elections are held every five years. English councils may elect to all of their seats at once, roughly half at a time, or roughly one third at a time; councils elsewhere in the UK elect to all of their seats at once. Following boundary changes, councils which normally elect in parts often elect to all seats, and the cycle timing may change (for example in Northern Ireland, the new councils elected in 2014 shadowed the old councils for a year, delaying the second election to 2019). Breakdowns of election schedules are given in the sections for each council type. 16 councils in England are distinguished by having a directly elected mayor, elected every four years (indicated by (M) beside the council name). Elections in England and Wales use first-past-the-post voting, while Scotland and Northern Ireland use the single transferable vote (STV) system. To facilitate STV, Scottish council wards elect multiple members, while Northern Ireland wards are grouped into District Electoral Areas with the number of councillors elected matching the number of wards. In the tables below, two "Control" columns indicate political control in each council. The first column indicates the party with a majority, if any. Councils with directly elected mayors have the affiliation of the mayor in the second column. For non-mayoral councils with no overall control (NOC) the second column gives the membership and format of the governing coalition, minority government, or if unknown the largest party followed by ellipsis (...).

England: two-tier council system




County councils


Non-metropolitan counties elect their councillors all at once every four years, in the year after leap years. All 27 counties had elections in May 2017 and the next elections are expected on 6 May 2021. ''Last full update 22 December 2020.''

District councils

Geographically, non-metropolitan districts are subdivisions of non-metropolitan counties. They have complementary powers to counties and some have ceremonial statuses of borough, royal borough or city. They vary in whether they elect all, half or one-third of their seats at once: * The seven that elect to half of their seats at a time do so in even years; * The 58 that elect to a third of their seats all do so in years divisible by 4, two years after that and three years after, so they would held elections in 2016, 2018 and 2019; ** but note that Weymouth and Portland's 2018 election was cancelled pending a merger and all 2020 elections were postponed to 2021;On 1 April 2019, Bournemouth and Poole unitary authorities and the Borough of Christchurch in Dorset County will be replaced by Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole unitary authority, and the remaining five districts of Dorset County by Dorset unitary authority (entailing the abolition of the county, the six districts and the two unitary authorities). First elections to the two new councils will be on 2 May 2019. Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council elections will take place every 4 years after that (elections in 4n+3 years), while the first two terms of Dorset Council will last 5 years (5n+4), with terms reverting to 4 years from 2029 (4n+1).
S.I. 2018/648
The one-third elections originally scheduled for Weymouth West and Portland District Council on 3 May 2018 were cancelled.
Weymouth & Portland area elections and referendums
''www.dorsetforyou.gov.uk.'' Retrieved 10 April 2018.
* Of the 137 that elect to all of their seats at once: ** two (Gloucester and Stroud) elect in years divisible by 4 (4n: 2012, 2016, ''2021'', 2024...), ** four elect two years after a year divisible by 4 (4n+2: 2014, 2018, 2022, ...), ** and 131 do so three years after a year divisible by 4 (4n+3: 2015, 2019, 2023, ...). 69 of the 201 district councils had elections on 3 May 2018 (4n+2). Copeland and Mansfield have directly elected mayors. Folkestone & Hythe was known as Shepway before 1 April 2018. Six district councils in Dorset will be subsumed into unitary authorities in 2019.On 1 April 2019, Bournemouth and Poole unitary authorities and the Borough of Christchurch in Dorset County will be replaced by Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole unitary authority, and the remaining five districts of Dorset County by Dorset unitary authority (entailing the abolition of the county, the six districts and the two unitary authorities). First elections to the two new councils will be on 2 May 2019. Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council elections will take place every 4 years after that (elections in 4n+3 years), while the first two terms of Dorset Council will last 5 years (5n+4), with terms reverting to 4 years from 2029 (4n+1).
S.I. 2018/648
The one-third elections originally scheduled for Weymouth West and Portland District Council on 3 May 2018 were cancelled.
Weymouth & Portland area elections and referendums
''www.dorsetforyou.gov.uk.'' Retrieved 10 April 2018.
The single county and four district councils of Buckinghamshire were subsumed into a single unitary authority in 2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic the 202 councillors from all five councils are united in a Shadow Authority until the postponed elections in 2021. ''Last full update 4 May 2019.''

England: unitary authorities

Unitary authorities vary in whether they elect to all or a third of their seats at a time. * The 17 that elect by thirds do so in leap years except 2020 (4n: 2016, ''2021'', 2024...), two years after leap years (4n+2: 2018, 2022...) and three years after (4n+3: 2019, 2023...), as in district and metropolitan borough councils. * Of the other 38 councils that elect to all of their seats at once: ** two, Warrington and Bristol, elect in leap years (4n), ** six elect in the year after leap years (4n+1: 2017, 2021...), ** and 30 elect three years after leap years (4n+3). Five UAs have directly elected mayors. ''Last full update 4 May 2019.'' The Council of the Isles of Scilly is a similar single-tier authority, which had all its seats up for election in May 2017. All candidates stood independently.

England: metropolitan borough councils

Of the 36 metropolitan borough councils: * three elect to all of their seats at once: ** Rotherham in a leap year except 2020 (4n: 2016, ''2021'', 2024...), ** Doncaster in the year after a leap year (4n+1: 2017, 2021...), ** Birmingham two years after (4n+2: 2018, 2022...); * the other 33 boroughs hold elections for one third of their seats at a time, all with seats elected to either in 4n, 4n+2 or 4n+3 years. Doncaster, Liverpool and Salford are mayoral metropolitan boroughs. ''Last full update 4 May 2019.''

London borough councils

The London Assembly is (together with the elected Mayor of London) the governing body for the Greater London Authority. Within its administrative area, the 32 borough councils perform lower functions. Elections to all seats of all 32 London boroughs were last held in May 2018 and will next be held in May 2022. ''Last full update 28 March 2019.'' The 100-member Court of Common Council of the City of London, a municipal corporation, was last elected in March 2017. Most members are non-aligned; the largest party is Temple & Farringdon Together and the only national party represented is Labour.

Scotland

All 32 Scottish unitary authorities had all their seats up for election by Single Transferable Vote in May 2017. Elections are on a five-year cycle and are next due on 5 May 2022. Currently, none of the mainland councils are controlled by the "big four" parties in Scotland, and the three island councils are controlled by local independents. Political control may be held by minority governments (min), coalitions (co), joint leadership arrangements (j.l.) or partnership working arrangements (p.w.). ''Last update 30 March 2021.''

Wales

All 22 Welsh unitary authorities had all of their seats up for election in May 2017, and the next elections are expected on 6 May 2021. The deaths of two candidates postponed the elections in one ward in Merthyr Tydfil and one in Ceredigion to 8 June, the day of the 2017 general election. No-one stood for election in one single-member ward in Powys, necessitating a by-election on 22 June for which six parties stood. ''Last update 4 May 2019.''

Northern Ireland

Elections were held for 11 newly created councils in Northern Ireland in May 2014, and May 2019 and on a four-year cycle after that. All seats are filled at once by Single Transferable vote within district electoral areas of 5 to 7 wards. The councils have ceremonial mayors elected by council members. Uniquely in the UK, vacancies are filled by co-option by whichever party won the seat at the previous election. ''Last update 30 October 2020.''


See also


*List of political parties in the United Kingdom by representation *Local government in the United Kingdom **Local government in England **History of local government in England **Local government in Scotland **Local government in Wales **Local government in Northern Ireland


References




External links

*Open Council Data UK
All UK councillors with parties and wards
*Edkins, Keith
A to Z of Local Councils
''Directgov''. {{United Kingdom elections Category:Local government in the United Kingdom Category:Political parties in the United Kingdom Category:United Kingdom politics-related lists